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Wednesday 3 July 2013

Channel 4, Ramadan, And Dacre

[Update at end of post]

The news that Channel 4 would broadcast the morning call to prayer during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan – at 0300 hours on a channel that most of its readers don’t watch – was first splashed by the Murdoch Sun. But now, word has clearly gone out from the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre to try and whip up another hate campaign against the broadcaster.
What's f***ing wrong with kicking a few Muslims, c***?!?

Dacre tried to “get” Channel 4 in January, over the last Big Fat Quiz Of The Year. There were the usual mean-spirited hatchet jobs on those taking part, especially Jack Whitehall. Replicating the manufactured furore of “Sachsgate” proved beyond the powers of the Vagina Monologue on that occasion. But you don’t just see off the Daily Mail. Dacre’s bullying and vindictive streak means he’ll be back.

And so it has been with the Ramadan row, with Dacre enlisting the services of A N Wilson (Rugby School and New College, Oxford) to denounce the broadcaster: “An insult to all faiths: Channel 4's plan to air the daily Muslim call to prayer during Ramadan is a divisive and cynical stunt”. Yes, all those faiths whose leaders have said nothing about the story have actually been insulted.

So why are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and other leaders not echoing Wilson’s sentiments? Could it be that they secretly agree with this assertion, but have somehow decided to keep their own counsel? No, it’s because Wilson is full of wind and piss, and is sufficiently desperate to be bunged an appropriately-sized wad that he will do whatever Dacre tells him to.

But let The Great Man speak for himself: “Does this cheer you up? Does it make you think what a happy, tolerant, multi-cultural society Britain has become? Or does Channel 4’s move nauseate you, as it does me? Does it make you think that new depths of bad taste have been plumbed? Why do I dislike the idea so much?” to which I say Meh, Meh, No, No, and because you got paid to say so.

So why is Wilson unahppy with Channel 4? “Because it is not, of course, really interested in providing a service to Muslims. It is simply trying to be provocative — and in so doing, it actually insults Muslims”. How many Muslims are backing this view? You guessed it, zero. But he’s got an ace up his sleeve – he can shout Anjem Choudary! That’ll make the readers sit up and take notice!

And that the Mail wants the broadcasts stopped is in no doubt: “Channel 4 is a public service broadcaster with specific responsibilities to the taxpayers who own it. If I were a TV regulator, I would stop the company from proceeding with this divisive and publicity-seeking gesture. But then our toothless TV regulators are cut from exactly the same secular liberal cloth as the channel’s producers”.

Well, I’ve got news for Dacre and Wilson. It ain’t going to happen. Tough titty.

[UPDATE 1415 hours: in response to the Mail and its allies sounding off over Channel 4's decision, Patrick Strudwick has put a counter argument at Independent Voices, asking if the BBC should also ban Songs Of Praise, given some of the content of popular Christian hymns.

Of course, Songs Of Praise is never mentioned whenever the Mail is kicking the Beeb for supposedly being part of some nominal Christian-persecuting conspiracy, which also by definition includes the deeply subversive Guardian. And, as Strudwick points out, what the Mail is trying to do is whip up hatred.

That is A Very Bad Thing for anyone else, but when Paul Dacre considers it to be part of that conversation he has with his readers, then it is an unalienable freedom which cannot be challenged]


Hutcho said...

There are actually muslims opposed to this:


Moreover, I think AN Wilson, and others, certainly have a point about it being a slightly cynical publicity stunt on C4's behalf.

However, the tabloid press - and in particular the Mail's click-whores - are in no position to complain about others courting controversy to attract attention and I see no reason for such hysteria. It's really not that big of a deal - niche and minority programming in the early hours of the morning is nothing new.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Mail complaining about toothless regulators? You couldn't make it up.